In the run up to his GCSEs former Hanson Academy student Ben Bott had no certitude around his future career path.
As one of the first secondary school pupils to take part in the inaugural Bradford Manufacturing Weeks initiative in October 2018, he joined his classroom peers for a tour of Baildon-based specialist aerospace manufacturers Produmax.
Unbeknown to Ben, it was a visit that would dramatically change his fortunes.
“At Produmax we were shown the different career opportunities available and their environment really fuelled my ambition to become an engineer. Importantly, the visit helped narrow my career path to a specific category of engineering and I realised I wanted to work in an environment using CNC (computer numerical control) machinery.”
Six months later Ben attended a Produmax apprenticeship open day and in summer 2019 was offered an engineering apprenticeship combining on-the-job experience with day release at Keighley College. This May – almost two years since joining the business - Ben achieved the Outstanding Apprentice Award in the annual Milner Awards, sponsored by Keighley Training Consortium.
“My role is very varied and I’ve even worked on the machines producing components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner! I’ve just finished my level 3 BTEC at Keighley college and will be taking my HNC there next year,” Ben continued. “I’m really passionate about helping the next generation of manufacturers, so over the next 12 months I plan to be involved in mentoring our new apprentices.”
He added: “I want to continue growing and developing here at Produmax and my dream role would be to join the board of directors in the engineering department while continuing to train the trainee engineers. It’s really important to me to give back where I can.”
For Ben, his Bradford Manufacturing Weeks-inspired apprenticeship has been the perfect way to enter a career while still in education, citing the early career start, training and experience as key factors in his success.
“I would encourage all secondary schools to get involved with Bradford Manufacturing Weeks and help pupils see the options of apprenticeships and different paths of education. I don’t believe enough people understand apprenticeships – I certainly didn’t – so this initiative is crucial in helping young people see not only the career potential of an apprenticeship but to recognise the potential in themselves.”
Bradford Manufacturing Weeks begins on Monday 4th October and runs until Friday 15th October. Led by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce with primary sponsorship from Barclays and additional sponsorship from Naylor Wintersgill, E3 Recruitment, LCF Law and Bradford Council, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks has created more than 12,000 manufacturing experiences for the district’s 14-18 year-old students since its launch in 2018.
For more details of how your school or your manufacturing business can get involved, please contact Laura Dooher at the Opportunity Centre on Laura.firstname.lastname@example.org